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The number one killer in America is heart disease. If it were airplane mishaps or auto accidents, you would probably avoid those methods of travel. And if it was murder, you would certainly stay away from places in which it was most likely to happen. So, even though you might have had bad health habits, it's not too late to change your style to prevent-and even reverse-damage to your heart.

Here are some suggestions:

a.. Stop smoking! Your chance of a heart attack increases 250% by smoking. Cigarettes are the greatest risk factor for coronary artery disease. Stopping will improve your health, even if you have smoked for several years. Eventually your heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal and the risk of heart attack will fall until it is the same as people who have never smoked.
b.. Exercise! The best exercise for the heart is aerobic-the kind that uses large muscle groups for prolonged periods of time, such as biking, swimming, fast walking, running, stair climbing, rowing or racquet sports. These exercises benefit the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart muscles, improving circulation, raising HDL and lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing stress on arteries, and fighting the formation of blood clots. If you work up a sweat, but don't feel out of breath, you're exerting yourself at the right level. As little as one-hour a week is helpful but the benefits increase if you work up to a total of three to four hours a week.
c.. Manage psychological stress! Massage, meditation, and group discussion are all effective ways to manage your stress. Deep breathing is another beneficial technique. You can do it any time, any place. First, exhale completely through your nose, then place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen and begin a progressive inhalation that begins in your abdomen. Fill your abdominal area with air, then fill your lower chest with air and continue inhaling until you feel your collar bone rising. To exhale, slowly repeat the same process in reverse, from top to bottom, taking a bit longer to exhale. If you get dizzy, return your breathing to normal.
Remember, big changes are often easier to make than small ones.